a very warm welcome to nhk "newsline" broadcasting to viewers around the globe. it is 10:00 a.m. in tokyo. i'm catherine kobayashi. our top story this hour. the defense secretary of the united states is set to reassure south korea and japan of his country's alliances with them. he started with a tour to their capitals on thursday. observers say james mattis wants to remove concerns about president trump's campaign remarks. trump says he may review the nature of the alliances.
in south korea, mattis wants to reassure both countries that america will press ahead with an anti-missile defense system. after visiting seoul, mattis will arrive in tokyo on friday. mattis will arrive in tokyo on friday and will meet shinzo abe as well as the defense minister. mattis will be the first member of trump's cabinet to visit. the japanese and american sides are expected to reaffirm a number of things, including that the senkaku islands in the east china sea fall within the scope of their security treaty. japan controls the islands and the japanese government maintains the islands and are an inherent part of japan's territory. china and taiwan claim them. iran's defense minister has admitted his country test fired a ballistic missile and he warns it won't allow foreigners to interfere in its security. it's a veiled message to the american president whose administration responded strongly. >> translator: we execute our plan to produce defensive equipment to defend our national
goals and interests according to our schedule. and nobody can affect our plan and decision. >> iran insists it is missiles are for defense and says it won't use them to attack others but that didn't stop americans from speaking out. >> the trump administration condemns such actions by iran that undermine security, prosperity, and stability throughout and beyond the middle east and place -- which places american lives at risk. as of today, we are officially putting iran on notice. >> it's the first iranian test since trump took office. he's threatened to scrap the international deal reached by former president barack obama to curb iran's nuclear program. trump also plans to strengthen cooperation with israel, a long-time adversary of iran. president trump has defended his executive order blocking refugees and others from
muslim-majority countries from entering the united states. the ban has sparked protests across the country, and the rest of the world. trump tweeted on wednesday that regardless of whether people call the action a ban or not, the measure was taken to keep bad people with bad intentions out of the country. >> the safety of the american people and the security of the american homeland are the president's top priorities and most americans agree with the steps he's taking to keep our country safe. >> he referred to a survey conducted by a private research firm rasmussen reports that suggests 57% of respondents back the measure. american media pointed out the firm's questionable polling mesh results in the past. many people are eager to see what kind of affect the trump policies will have on the
economy. ai uchida is live at the business desk. what came out of the meeting, ai? >> there was a statement released and economic activity is continuing at a moderate pace while unemployment stays at a recent low. the policy makers say this is a unanimous decision to keep the interest rate unchanged between .50 and 0.75%. they need to keep monitoring inflation indicators. fed chair janet yellen said a rate rise would depend on how the economy performs in the coming months. they believe the policy makers will consider whether to make a move as they get a clear he picture of trump's policies on the economy. let's see how tokyo's markets are reacting to that statement.
nikkei moved into negative territory. profit making is dominating the market. the nikkei is down by 19,063. shares of automaker toyota are trading lower after january data showed u.s. sales declined 11% from a year ago. let's check on currencies. the dollar rose on a strong sector jobs report and higher factory activity in the u.s. but the greenback trimmed gains after the fed announcement. analysts say some traders were hoping for a more hawkish stance on the rate hikes and took profit on the dollar. they are avoiding major moves before friday's u.s. jobs report. let's take a look at other markets across the asia-pacific. we are seeing seouls kospi trading higher up at 2,089. australian shares also in positive territory, up a tenth of a percent.
hong kong's hang-sang opens in an hour. india's government has unveiled its budget draft for fiscal 2017. it features more spending on infrastructure and rural areas. the government submitted the budget to parliament on wednesday. total expenditure is more than $300 billion. the draft allocates about $60 billion for roads, railways and other infrastructure. that's nearly double the amount for the current fiscal year. the government is also looking at revitalizing rural areas. officials want to double the income of farmers over the next five years. so they plan to expand loans and step up things like power supply and housing programs. prime minister modi says it focuses on economic growth and job creation. the indian economy is dealing
with lower consumer spending. economists blame what happened last november when officials abruptly abolished two high-value bank notes but delayed issuing replacement notes. sales in many vehicles in japan have been on the decline after two years and officials at suzuki think their new line-up featuring enhanced safety systems will win over new customers. the officials have rolled out the suzuki models in tokyo. they have an improved auto braking system. these enable the system to predict pedestrians ahead. it's an industry first. the cars also have a mechanism to prevent drivers from stepping on the gas pedal instead of the brake. the officials say the latest hybrid power system improves mileage. the company president says demand is growing for many
vehicles with safety vehicles as many of their drivers are elderly. a nobel prize winning economist is back in the spotlight. christ sister simms is challenging a widely accepted claim. simms says if interest rates are low or negative, monetary easing may not be enough to spur inflation. he says monetary policy needs to be combined with fiscal expansion to truly be effective and his ideas have caught the attention of policy makers around the world, especially here in japan. policy makers sat down with simms to view their implications for abenomics. >> reporter: christopher simms says it won't work as it it. it's been a year and far from hitting the inflation target.
what went wrong? >> i was very optimistic about abenomics at the beginning but when consumption tax increase was implemented in the midst of this, there was no coordination of monetary policy and the public realized it, too, that there was going to be contractionary fiscal policy working against the monetary policy and i think that's why it's had little effect until recently. and so in order for it to have a fully expansionary effect, the fiscal policy has to also be aimed at getting inflation back up to the target level. >> sims says shinzo abe will announce the tax hike plan for 2019. until the bank of japan hits the 2% inflation target. >> it would be better, instead
of setting a new date, it had been made clear that the increase in consumption tax is con continue dent on getting inflation back up to the target level. that could mean earlier or later increase in the consumption tax if people see the tieing of the consumption tax to inflation as a government commitment to generating inflation and be willing to postpone tax increases until they see the inflation. the inflation might actually pick up quite quickly in which case 2019 might even seem too late. >> reporter: but the question is, can japan afford the spending and push back a tax hike while shouldered with one of the world's biggest debts. sims suggests there's little possibility that japan could end up like greece.
>> one big difference between greece and japan, the reason japan can still have zero interest rates whereas greece pays high interest rates, japan's debt is almost entirely yen nominated debt. the government can print yen. so there is -- a government that can print the money it promises to deliver in it is debt never needs to default. >> sims says increasing spending for future inflation, not by adding to the government debt or cutting people's pensions. but he asks, that does not mean that will no price to pay. >> it's true, inflation is a tax and ilts not just like other taxes because it falls more heavily on people who have
assets and no loans denominated in yen. so when i make this proposal, and i'm not suggesting that financing the debt with inflation is painless, the reason we want to do this is not to substitute inflation for taxes and paying the debt. it's rather because we think that the economy does not function very well when inflation is near zero. >> sims says governments have an obligation to show people why they need to go down this road. nhk world, tokyo. and that is the latest in business for this hour. i'll leave you with a check on markets. and that is the latest business for this hour. i'll leave you with a check on markets.
other stories we're following at this hour, the organizers of the paralympics have weighed in on one of the game's planned venues. the membership policy doesn't grant full membership to women. they will work with the japanese olympic committee to persuade the country club to change its policy. earlier, the international olympic committee called for changes. it said the club's rules are not in line with the olympic charter which sets out equality of men and women. the japan golf
the country club was approved as the olympic venue after explaining its policies to the ioc and international sports associations. the club allows women to play on more than 90% of its business days but not to become full members. and women are on the club's management team. officials at the golf club say they need to hear the opinions of club members before reviewing the regulations. executives are expected to discuss the issue soon. japan's top court has issued a landmark ruling on situation where is people want information scrubbed from the internet. the supreme court stopped short of acknowledging a right to be forgotten but said data should be deleted when a person's privacy overrides freedom of expression. it stems from a legal petition brought by a man arrested in a child prostitution case six years ago. he demanded a court injunction ordering google to delete links found a search in his name. a lower court ruled in his favor, saying he had a right to
be forgotten. the tokyo high court reversed that ruling. the supreme court said internet searches are an important means for getting information from a vast pool of data and judgments should be made based on the level of social interest and the potential damage to the individual. it added child prostitution must be strongly condemned. there could be new hope for people suffering from serious eye disease. japanese researchers are one step closer to a medical first, treating them by using a special type of cells from someone other than the patient. an advisory panel to japan's health ministry has approved an application by research firms. they propose using a special type of ips cell which can develop into any type of tissue. they would use it to make retinal tissue and say it would be less likely to be rejected by the patient. researchers plan to treat age-related macular degeneration and say it would make surgery much cheaper and could drastically shorten wait times.
>> translator: i'm grateful for this step forward in the treatment of the disease. i hope the new treatment will cure my ailment as well as all other illnesses. >> if research teams get final approval from the health ministry, they'll choose a patient. they expect the surgery could take place within the next six months. ban ki-moon has decided not to run for president of south korea. >> translator: i will give up my pure hope of achieving a change in politics under my leadership and unifying the country. >> ban expressed his disappointment with what he called the old-fashion self-centered south korea politicians and apologized to his supporters. south korean media say it will have a huge impact on the
presidential election held sometime this year. ban returned to south korea last month after ten years in new york. some observers say the suspension of the current president may have influence in his decision. recent polls have ban in second place among possible candidates. a south korean court has added a new twist to an international dispute over a stolen buddhist statue. the court issued an injunction to stop it from being handed to a local temple. the case began when south korean thieves took the figure from a temple in japan. the south korean government confiscated it and is keeping it in seoul. last week, a lower court ordered the government to hand it over to south korea and not back to japan. it said japanese pirates raided the area centuries ago and seized the statue. the south korean government appealed the ruling saying it cannot be sure that the temple will take proper care of the figure.
it's been two years since islamic state militants announced the execution of a japanese journalist kenji goto. the news at the time sent shock waves through his home country and made headlines around the world. today, a close friend is trying to honor his memory by carrying on with his legacy. nhk world's miki ebara reports. >> reporter: two years after the announcement of the death of kenji goto, close friend kazunori kurimoto is still trying to piece together what happened. >> hello. >> thank you for coming. >> i've written this book. >> reporter: the paris-based journalist recently published a book in tribute to goto's life titled "a message of life."
>> translator: at the time, the air raids on isil territory were becoming more and more intense, but no media was inside the territory to tell stories about ordinary people who were affected there. i believe he wanted to go inside there to find out how the lives of innocent civilians really were. >> reporter: kenji goto was a freelance journalist. he made numerous trips to troubled regions of the middle east and africa. in october 2014, he entered syria. he left a message on his phone that he would head to isil's stronghold, raqqa. soon after, islamic state militants held him as a hostage and announced his execution on
kurimoto says that goto made a conscious decision not to cover the front line of wars and he often tried to give help to those who fell victim to conflict, sometimes even with his own money. >> translator: he hated to be called a war correspondent. he used to say he would not go to cover fighting in wars. he wanted to depict the ordinary lives behind the front line. he felt responsible for people whom he got to know and wanted to do everything he could for them. >> translator: there are others who are remembering goto too. last saturday a play based on his life was presented at a church in tokyo. kurimoto was asked to give a talk about his friend's life there. >> translator: it makes me think
that goto probably had a lot >> reporter: kurimoto says that the image of goto's quiet gaze while taken during his time as a hostage left a lasting impression on him. >> translator: at the end i believe goto accepted his fate and, even though his life was going to end soon, he was ready to face it. i think he felt he had done his best. but just like a grain of wheat that falls onto the earth and bears much fruit, his death had a meaning. his passing made his spirit live forever. >> reporter: goto had said that individuals may have only a small amount of power, but we must believe we're not powerless.
his message continues to inspire people. miki ebara, nhk world, tokyo. people in northern japan are dealing with a winter storm, and having difficulty getting around this morning, meteorologist robert speta joins us now with the latest. >> yes, what we have is that classic winter weather cell dominating central and northern japan. these northwest winds continue across the sea of japan here, impacting parts of hokoryku and tohoku. we have winter storm warnings at this time. whenever we get that low back towards the east, look at these highs from the west. it's that tight pressure gradient that sets up the high winds but also picks up the
moisture. so the heaviest right in the middle of that, where you have the tightest pressure gradient, that's around tohoku. that's really heading into friday morning. back towards the south in gunma, as much as 60 centimeters and hokkaido could see up to 30 centimeters. most of western japan should remain on the dry side, albeit cold. the high pressure creating the snow once it moves overhead will force it to taper off and we're going to be looking at conditions warming up, even in tokyo, up to 14 by saturday. niigata, 9 by saturday. the ice festival is starting up next week so you want some subzero temperatures for that there in the northern areas of japan. tokyo, you're going to see the high of 9. as mentioned, seoul with a high of 3. shanghai, a high of 7 and taipei, cloudy conditions today
into the high teens. take your attention back here to south america. specifically, around peru. there is basically this frontal area which has just been dominating across this region and it's been going on for some time. we're starting to get into the peak of the rainy season but the floods have been persistent. it's just the past seven days. further down towards the south, right around lima, well over 100 millimeters. i'll show you video coming out of that area because it gives you an idea of the significant flooding which has taken place here. at least 14 people have been killed and 30,000 affected. the government is declaring a state of emergency there in liam lima. level 3 warnings are issued across wide central areas of peru, even around the lima area.
so this is not over yet. about 100 millimeters in the next 72 hours across the entire rain band. towards the north, there is winter weather, especially around the great lakes. frontal areas are continuing to dip through here and bringing wind to parts of quebec to ontario and some areas of 15 to 20 centimeters. meanwhile, back towards the west, rockies are seeing heavy snow and then lower elevations of california, likely north of l.a. but around san francisco, sacramento, you'll see scattered showers here as we head through thursday and also into friday. things stay chilly in l.a. as well. 19 and partly cloudy skies. all right. here's your extended outlook. ♪
2020. they're replacing some symbols used in public facilities to match global standards. officials are responding to complaints from foreign visitors that some japanese pictograms are obscure and hard to understand. the signs are expected to come into effect in july. one is for parking lots. it's the letter p. the revised one includes a car. if you need a nursing room, the new one is easier to understand. people who need first aid will no longer have to look for a sign showing a hand, just this cross symbol. but some won't change. many people in the hospitality industry wanted to preserve the traditional hot springs symbol. officials decided to keep it with the redesigned version that shows people soaking in hot water. and that wraps up in edition of nhk "newsline." thank you very much for joining us.
♪ >> welcome to "in good shape." coming up -- just do it. why working out really is the best fat-killer. brittle bone disease. when bones are so fragile, they keep fracturing. and periodontitis -- chronic gum disease can be a life-threatening condition. and here's your host, dr. carsten lekutat. dr. lekutat: hello, and welcome to "in good shape." today, we're going to talk about heart disease, diabetes, premature birth, cancer, and rheumatism. that is why i am here at the dental clinic. today, i'm going to talk with a dentist about why teeth can cause all thos